Imagining Otherwise encompasses current and past projects at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design, and strives toward socially transformative educational and design practices and more equitable futures.
The project started in October 2018, against the backdrop of massive feminist mobilizations, such as NiUnaMenos, Women's March, and Feminist Strike; and the rising demands from the students for design education that counters patriarchal-colonial narratives. Inspired by the research and activism of Palestinian design educator and researcher Danah Abdulla, we joined forces to start imagining design otherwise—a practice that is critical, situated, reflexive, and socially transformative.
Believing in the transformative potential of design and echoing Colombian anthropologist Arturo Escobar's words, we began asking ourselves: “How can design be infused with a more explicit sense of politics?” How can we participate in the recentering of design education by specifically situating it in relation to structures of inequality, sexism, racism, and colonialism? And how can we disrupt hegemonic epistemologies, ontologies, and systems from within a Eurocentric institution, and strive toward more equitable, pluralistic futures?
On this website, you can delve into different projects realized since 2018. They do not attempt to answer the aforementioned questions, nor to provide universally replicable solutions. Instead, they invite you to open your mind to alternatives, and to open up spaces of potential for change—as expressed by feminist activist and writer bell hooks: “a space where there is unlimited access to the pleasure and power of knowing, where transformation is possible.”
Co-directors: Mayar El-Bakry, Maya Ober and Laura Pregger
Imagining Otherwise was co-conceived by Maya Ober and Laura Pregger. In 2019, Mayar El-Bakry joined the team to co-curate Educating Otherwise, a continuing education program.
DEBORAH HOLMAN is an artist and curator. In her work, she explores uses of language through various materials. Fluidity being an important element of both her artistic and curatorial practices, recurring themes include constant negotiation within notions of authorship, legitimacy, subjectivity by interweaving of fiction, truths and facts.Recently, (her work was shown at Micro, Zurich (solo),) her work was included in a performance series at Auto Italia, London, in the group show Extime at Live In Your Head, Geneva and in the double exhibitions Rich, since my pinky points at me at Alienze, Lausanne and Elemental Gestures at Topic, Geneva.
She’s the founder and co-director of 1.1, a platform for emerging practices in arts and music with an exhibition space in Basel, she curated …and their tooth, finest gold, the 2018 edition of Les Urbaines’s visual arts exhibition in Lausanne (and co-curated the Alternative Graduation Show BBZ BLK BK, at Copeland Gallery in London, which promotes black women*, trans and non-binary people who recently graduated in a setting that isn't a white institution.)